Here’s why you should see Phantom of the Opera this weekend

hile you’re waiting for the historical, hip-hop musical Hamilton to pay a visit to Detroit, don’t forget about the classics! The Phantom of the Opera opened last week at the Michigan Opera Theater, so here are a few reasons why you should probably go see the show (while you still can!)

1. It’s the first time we’ve had a black ‘Phantom’ in Detroit.

Performer Derrick Davis, who plays the Phantom, is the first black actor to play the title character in the touring production (and the third in the show’s professional history).

“It feels amazing but in the beginning it was a little daunting. I didn’t know how it would be received because people are so used to the white face,” Davis tells BLAC. “I’m acutely aware that I have a responsibility to hold open a door that was opened by Robert Guillaume and Norm Lewis before me in this particular role for other people of color, and to do an exceptional job. I’ve found that if you are true to the story and true to the craft, people get lost in that. And they forget that there is a person of color.”

2. It’s a musical, not an opera.

Most people tend to blend the two categories but, for what it’s worth, “Phantom of the Opera” is musical about an opera house, so it’s a lot less stuffy than you may think.

“A lot of people see ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and they think it’s an opera, but there’s pyrotechnics, there’s action, there’s fights, it’s amazing,” Davis says. “I think it’s seen so much success worldwide because first of all, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music is ingenious. The melody lines are very simple, so it’s easy for even non-musicians to catch. But then the orchestration that goes with the music is so brilliantly complex and matches the emotion of the scene. It tells such a heart jerking story.”


3. The show probably won’t come back to Detroit for a while.

The Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway in 1988, and has been running ever since (that’s just over 12,000 performances just in New York, alone). But when it comes to Detroit, Davis says it might not be so easy to catch in the near future.

“We probably won’t be back to [Detroit] for a while because there are so many cities we’re trying to hit,” Davis says. “It probably will be years before we return, so if you get the opportunity to see it, see it. It is a life-changing experience.”

The Phantom of the Opera runs at the Michigan Opera Theater until January 22. You can find tickets here.

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